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tv   U.S. Senate Debates Deputy Defense Secretary Nomination  CSPAN  July 17, 2017 2:59pm-7:08pm EDT

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cold spray, i'm not sure if you're familiar with coldspring or not. they've actually done some work in terms of the b1 visa l force air force base using cold spray to make some quick repairs or very efficiently save a lot of time and a lot of money as well. it shoots metal particles through a gas stream at supersonic speed to create a cross between adding the manufacturing and welding. it can be used to repair broken parts or reinforce them so they don't wear down and i see estimates that this could save the department of defense over $100 million a year in parts replacement alone. now, a large support of coldspring is the army research lab where they are storing ways to use it in ballistics and manufacture and repair things faster, safer and cheaper. as i said, it's kind of an ad here but it would develop in south dakota. i'm looking forward to seeing if you and your team look very seriously at the unique combination of opportunities this particular new product
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might well offer. >> we will leave this hearing at this point. you can see the rest of it at c-span.org. the senate about the gavilan to work on the highest job in the defense department, boeing executive patrick shanahan has been nominated for deputy defense secretary. senators will vote at 5:30 eastern on advancing the confirmation process. also pending is the republican care law replacement, mitch o'connell announcing over the weekend to date on the measure will be delayed now senator mccain recovers from surgery. enter mcconnell may update us at the start of the session live coverage of the senate . >> the chaplain: let us pray. eternal spirit, today teach our
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lawmakers to do things your way, embracing your precepts and walking in your path. lord, remind them that the road less traveled usually leads to life and few find it. as our senators receive guidance from you and follow your leading, replace anxiety with calm, confusion with clarity, and despair with hope. use these legislatures to transform dark yesterdays into bright tomorrows. may your peace guard their hearts.
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guide them to find workable solutions for the problems of our nation and world. and lord, bring healing to senator john mccain. we pray in your merciful name. amen. the president pro tempore: please join me in reciting the pledge of allegiance to our flag. i pledge allegiance to the flag of the united states of america, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i spoke with senator mccain this morning, let him know that the senate continues to send its thoughts to him. our friend from arizona is a pretty tough guy, as we all know. he'll be back with us soon, and we will continue to offer him best wishes for a speedy recovery. in the meantime we'll continue to keep sending his family, the people of arizona in our thoughts. we'll continue to work on items before the senate. as we all know, the nomination
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before the senate today is of particular concern to senator mccain. just a few days ago he, as chairman of the armed services committee, came to the floor to underline the importance of confirming the nominee before us. here's what he said: in order to rebuild the military, the pentagon needs to ramp up readiness programs and embark on an ambitious plan for modernation to make sure our service members are given the training, resources and capabilities they need. to do that, the department of defense must have senior leadership. for instance -- this is senator mccain last week. the nominee before us, patrick shanahan, who has been nominated by secretary mattis -- to be secretary mattis' deputy at the department of defense, the position is one of the most critical positions in our government. it is essentially the chief
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operating officer of the largest, most complex organization in the world. the department that is entrusted with ensuring our national security. and yet, as senator mccain noted, the position is now vacant. friday was the last day of work for the previous deputy secretary of defense. and democrats who do not oppose shanahan's nomination on the merits are throwing up procedural hurdles to guarantee this critical national security position will remain vacant for awhile longer. why? change in outcome? no, not to change an outcome. as i said, many democrats actually support shanahan's nomination. he commands the bipartisan support of the armed services committee, which reported his nomination out on a voice vote. a voice vote, mr. president. and he's earned praise from across the aisle. as one democrat senator put it,
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patrick shanahan's entire career has been about solving problems no one else can solve. and these skills will be invaluable at d.o.d. well, she's certainly right. and why is her party playing games with the nomination? these are the same games we've seen before. take the ambassador to china. democrats voted with us to confirm him 82-13. they forced the senate to waste days on useless procedural votes getting there. take the ambassador to japan we considered last week. democrats voted with republicans to confirm him 86-12. yet, they still forced unnecessary procedural hurdles. all along the way. perhaps the most egregious example of this was the noncontroversial judicial nominee from idaho we just considered last week. like the nominee before us, the committee of jurisdiction reported out his nomination on a
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voice vote. yet, also like the nominee before us, democrats threw up unnecessary procedural hurdles on his nomination. when we took the vote to end debate on the judicial nominee from idaho, they all joined us, every single one of them, to say debate on his nomination was not necessary. and then insisted on two more days of nondebate before voting with us to confirm him 100-0. it didn't really matter whether the nominee has been nominated to serve in the judiciary or work as an ambassador or serve in the treasury department or head an intelligence agency or sit on the nuclear regulatory commission. democrats have shown time and time again they're willing to force needless, needless procedural votes on nominees they actually support. in order to waste the senate's
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time. and presumably with the simultaneous goal of impeding the president's ability to make almost any appointments at all. if this trend continues, it will take us more than 11 years to confirm the remaining presidential appointments. so let me repeat that, mr. president. more than 11 years. a presidential term lasts four years. the level of obstruction exhibited by senate democrats on these nominees is simply breathtaking. it's often leaving key departments without the senior leadership needed to guide our country through the various challenges that we face.
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it needs to stop. the senate needs to confirm mr. shanahan quickly, and we need to do that for the sake of our national security. and our colleagues need to stop this immediately for the sake of the country. one final matter. obamacare has been hurting the people we represent for many years now. that's why the senate has been working hard to move beyond its failures. the costs were supposed to go down under obamacare, but they skyrocketed. premiums have already increased by an average of more than 100% on the federal exchange. next year they could rise by as much as 50% or more in states as diverse as georgia, new mexico, and maryland. look, we need to tackle this
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problem. the revised discussion draft we released last week contains many different reforms designed to make insurance more affordable and for flexible, so it's something americans actually want to buy. it gives americans more choices for managing their care. it also takes aim at obamacare's taxes that target the middle class and drive up premiums, taxes on everything from health insurance to over-the-counter medication. choice was supposed to go up under obamacare, but of course it plummeted. americans living in 70% of counties have little or no options for obamacare insurance today. next year nearly 40% fewer insurers have filed to offer plans. many americans face the real possibility of having no options at all and could find themselves
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trapped, forced by law to purchase obamacare insurance but left by obamacare without any means to do so. we need to tackle this problem. the revised discussion draft is designed to stabilize the collapses insurance markets and encourage more insurers to participate. it will transfer many health care decisions away from washington bureaucrats and politicians and put them back with americans and their doctors. it will also give americans the freedom to decide their own health care. allowing them to purchase the insurance they actually want rather than just forcing americans to buy what obamacare is selling. now there are other health care problems that need to be tackled as well. we need to strengthen medicaid, for instance, so it can deliver better care at better costs today and remain available for future generations tomorrow. our legislation contains
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important reforms to move our country forward in all of these areas. these are the kinds of reforms americans deserve. not the status quo of obamacare. not a multimillion-dollar band-aid. not a piling on of even more obamacare. but real patient-centered reforms that can finally move us beyond the pain of this law. the only way we'll get there is with continued hard work. that's just what we intend to do. i understand there's a bill at the desk due a second reading. the presiding officer: read the title of the build for the second time. -- bill for the second time. the clerk: h.r. 2430, an act to amend the federal food, drug and cosmetic act, and so forth and for other purposes. mr. mcconnell: in order to place
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the bill on the calendar number under the provisions of rule 14 i would object to further proceedings. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the bill will be placed on the calendar. under the previous order, the leadership time is reserved. morning business is closed. under the previous order, the senate will proceed to executive session to resume consideration of the shanahan nomination, which the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination: department of defense, patrick m. shanahan of washington to be deputy secretary.
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mr. cornyn: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, on thursday after two additional weeks of consultation and input from senators, we released an improved version of the bill we call the better care reconciliation act, which represents our efforts to address the failing status quo of obamacare. we've said all along that even if hillary clinton were elected president, we would have to revisit obamacare because we have seen in a number of states that insurance companies are fleeing, leaving people with few, if any, options. people in the individual and small group market are seeing their premiums skyrocket. 105% nationwide since 2013 alone. 105% increase in premiums. and for many of these folks, even though they have paid the
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higher additional premium, their deductibles are so high they effectively are being denied the benefit of any insurance whatsoever. and so i guess perhaps it's no surprise that 28 million americans would simply be willing to pay the fine that goes along with the individual mandate for not buying government-approved health insurance or claim some sort of hardship exemption. so while obamacare was sold under the premise that if you like your policy, you can keep your policy, if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor. and, oh, by the way, your premiums are going to go down $2,500, what people have experienced has been the opposite of that. with premiums going up on average $3,000. so we simply believe that we have to act, to save the millions of people who are being hurt by the status quo. and that would be true whether hillary clinton were president
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or donald trump were president. so our first goal in the better care reconciliation act is to stabilize the insurance markets, to make sure that people actually have an insurance company that they can buy from. our second goal is to get premiums down. the reason premiums are down are mainly twofold. one is that you have younger, healthier people simply foregoing insurance, leaving only sicker, older people in the risk pools and under the -- under adverse selection, that means everybody pays higher premiums when younger, healthier people simply don't purchase the product because they can't be part of that risk pool. the second reason why premiums are so high is the mandates. people simply being ordered by their own government to buy coverage that they don't want or
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need, which drives up premiums, not to mention the fact that young people are subsidizing older people's health insurance premiums the way that obamacare was constructed. so we're going to do everything we can to get the premiums down, and with the first congressional budget office report, it said that long-term you would -- long term, you would see premiums go down by as much as 30% by the year 2020, but we want to do even better than that if we can. the fourth thing we said we wanted to do was -- excuse me. the third thing we said we wanted to do was we wanted to protect people with preexisting conditions. you know, when people are forced to keep a job that they really don't want because they don't want to lose their employer-provided health coverage due to preexisting conditions, we don't want people to be stuck at a job they don't want or be unable to quit their job and look for something else because they're worried about not being covered due to
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preexisting conditions exclusions. so we maintain the current status of the law with regard to protecting people from opinions. and then the fourth thing that we try to do in this bill, we try to take one of the large entitlement programs, medicaid, which is an important safety net to low-income americans, and to put it on a sustainable path. now, there is some people that think you can spend hundreds of billions of dollars more for medicaid over time and we can continue to deliver those services to the poor people in our country, and we don't need to worry about crowding out defense spending or education or some other priority. we simply cannot do it. and so what we have done is put it on a responsible growth rate and delegate more of that authority to the states to come up with innovative programs. so our -- our plan will remove
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costly mandates, it will help provide more options and drive down some of the exorbitant costs. we will soon have a chance to rescue the american people from the failures of the obamacare experiment. this is a critical moment for the senate. i want to go over a few updates to the discussion draft perhaps in hopes that some of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle will realize that when faced with a choice of our reform plan or the status quo, that the choice is clear. so after listening to a number of senators, we made some important updates. for example, to combat the opioid epidemic, that's ravaging the country, our new draft includes an additional $45 billion for substance abuse and recovery. as this chart indicates, the
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number of people with h.i.v. has gone down to 6,400, thanks to innovations in drug therapy, principally. car accidents, 37 people die a year in the united states as a result of car accidents, but 52,000 and growing are the number of people that lose their lives due to opioid and drug -- other drug overdoses. this is an epidemic that has to be dealt with. the abuse of heroin and prescription pain killers is devastating families and communities all across the country, but particularly we hear from our colleagues in ohio and west virginia and kentucky that this is an urgent and unmet need. these additional resources will be critical for providers, for
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advocates and for families on the front lines of this crisis. as i said, our colleagues from ohio and west virginia and in new hampshire and other places advocated for something called the comprehensive addiction and recovery act last year, which we were able to pass to address this crisis. we passed additional legislation called the 21st century cures act in december, which, again, added additional resources, but this represents the single largest allocation or appropriation of federal dollars to deal with this crisis that's ever occurred before. and i think it's because it's necessary, and i thank our colleagues for bringing this to our attention. this is a shocking statistic when you think about it, that more people die of drug overdoses in america today than die of car accidents, and we're going to do something about that in this legislation.
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we're also introducing a provision that would for the first time allow people to use pretax dollars to pay for their insurance premiums. let's say you pay 25% of your income to taxes. well, if you can use pretax dollars, then basically that effectively lowers your out-of- pocket costs, if you can use pretax dollars rather than net tax. and so we expand the use of health savings accounts to give people that ability which effectively lowers the costs of their premiums again and provides them more flexibility in terms of determining how to provide for their health care. some people may decide, and we want to give them the freedom to do so, to say well, maybe all i need is a hospitalization policy. in addition to a health savings account where i'll put pretax dollars in there and save them
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and use those to pay for doctors visits. that's the kind of thing that i believe we have seen states like indiana and elsewhere that have been used very effectively to provide additional choices for consumers and their small businesses on how they address their health care needs and their costs. so as i say, allowing consumers to use pretax dollars to pay for their health insurance premiums will help bridge the coverage gap. both the congressional budget office and the joint committee on taxation have a firmed -- have affirmed this will help boost access to health care coverage. another improvement this latest discussion draft brings forward is more options to buy lower premium plans. under the better care act, anyone in the individual market is allowed to purchase a lower premium health insurance plan like the one i mentioned.
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while those plans have lower monthly costs with a higher deductible, they'll still cover up to three primary care visits a year and ultimately limit an individual's out-of-pocket costs, and coupled together with the health savings account, this may well be the most affordable way for people to address their health care. not everybody's the same. that was part of the problem with obamacare. it treated us all like we were widgets and not human beings with unique needs, depending on our family circumstances, our health condition or what part of the country we lived in. this allows people to personalize and individualize their own health care plan. i think this is great news for otherwise healthy adults previously barred from purchasing these plans under obamacare. young people who we need in the insurance pool in order to bring down premiums for everybody else, these younger people don't want to have to subsidize older folks' health coverage. they want to pay the fright for
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their own -- the freight for their own costs, but this will allow them access to a lower cost plan that will allow them to be covered for an unexpected hospitalization or other catastrophic be event. in addition to this freedom of choice, these plans will now also be eligible for tax credits. in other words, what we provide is a refundable tax credit which essentially is a check from the federal government to the insurance company to pay your health insurance premium, but under obamacare, people enrolled in these sort of catastrophic plans were prohibited from receiving tax credits like the ones we're offering. even when they met all other eligibility requirements. that doesn't make any sense, and our legislation fixes that. we've also made some -- several revisions to medicaid. i might just mention, mr. president, there's a lot of discussion about whether we are cutting medicaid, and i have
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said before only in washington, d.c., can you spend more money year after year and be accused of cutting. honestly, fairly, what we do is reduce the rate of growth for medicaid, this uncapped entitlement program that's contributeed more than $20 trillion in national debt. we put it on a reasonable budget and a rate of growth. and actually, from the beginning until the end, we'll see medicaid spending go up by the federal government $71 billion. but ultimately for medicaid to work more efficiently for the people it's intended to serve, primarily the children, the blind, the disabled, the elderly frail, we need to give the states more flexibility to implement medicaid spending based upon the unique needs of people in their states. one of the big problems with
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obamacare is it expanded medicaid to otherwise healthy adults. we have got a better way to deal with that, using the tax credit, the state innovation and stability funds, and something called the 1332 waivers where the centers for medicare and medicaid services essentially is giving the states the opportunity to innovate and use the money in the tax credit to come up with something that suits the needs of their population. and really, what we need to do is get medicaid back focused on the most vulnerable population, which are the disabled, the blind, the elderly, frail elderly, and children. to improve the management of vulnerable populations such as this, now states can apply for waivers that utilize existing funds as they see fit to improve community-based services that these folks rely on. our medicaid provisions allow the states flexibility to route
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funds to regions impacted by public health emergencies, which includes disastrous weather events like hurricanes. so instead of being applied as a block grant or based on per capita caps, under our legislation, emergency funding will be applied where and when it's needed. and lastly, under our medicaid revision, states can add expansion populations under existing block grants if they choose to do so, but they are going -- medicaid will always be, as it has been, a federal-state shared expense. but by allowing states to be flexible in their medicaid application, we can help them fill the gaps that the mandates under obamacare chose to merely gloss over. so, for example, in texas, we were not a medicaid expansion state, so young adults between 100% of poverty and 138% of
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poverty will now get access to a tax credit, the innovation and stability funds, and these waivers, which will allow them for the first time to get access to private health insurance. that's good for them, and i think represents a vast improvement over the status quo. about 600,000 in texas alone. our new draft includes an additional $70 billion to encourage states and help implement these new reforms. what i have come to learn is that people don't really trust washington, d.c., and certainly based on the experience of obamacare, this failed experiment where people were promised certain things that ended up not being true and creating the problems we're now having to fix, i think people will have a lot more confidence in a plan that let's the governors and let's state leaders manage this money and
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address the health care need of their population in a way for people who are closest to those people rather than here out of washington, d.c., and our bill does that in a dramatic way. it takes that authority and power grabbed by obamacare and gives it back to the governors and the states to manage. and based on the polling i see, people certainly have greater confidence in their states and their leadership at the local level to deal with this than they do under obamacare. so if governors want to try to come up with unique health care products to drive down premiums through cost sharing or increase funding for health savings accounts, this legislation gives them greater flexibility and gives them additional funding through the innovation and stability fund to do just that. many of us have quoted louis brandize who -- bran eyes who
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said that the states are the -- you don't see any innovation at the federal level. it's like all command and control. it's central planning, which we know doesn't work very well. but the states are the laboratories of democracy and if we give them the freedom to innovate and the resources to do so, i think we can expect our health care system to move forward. soon we're going to have a critical vote, one that's been seven years in the making. while our plan is not perfect, it is certainly better than the status quo, which is why we call it the better care reconciliation act. this is not the end as dr. tom price of health and human services points out. this is just the next step. we know we are going to have other opportunities to address
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health care, and most notably in september when we reauthorize the children's health insurance program. but this, by any measure, shows an improvement of the status quo and there are useful parts of this bill that people will like if they look at it objectively and consider it fairly. but if we don't take up the bill, well, it can't be changed and millions of americans will continue to be harmed by the status quo, so that's a decision that all of us are going to have to make when we move to the bill. do we have enough confidence that we can make it better or are we simply going to throw our hands up and say, well, i give up before we even start, leaving people with the failure of the status quo. so i'd like to encourage our colleagues to work with us to make this legislation better. it's unfortunate that health care has become such a polarizing and partisan issue. it doesn't need to be that way,
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but it started off with obamacare, which was passed along purely party lines, creating a situation where there's not bipartisan support for health care generally, which is a real tragedy given the importance that this has to all of us and all of our families. but given the hand we've been dealt with, we're going to plow ahead and do the best we can. mr. president, i -- i sat down at my computer this morning and i started to write a list about the things i liked about the better care act that perhaps people haven't heard much about. number one, it repeals the individual mandate. this the fine imposed on people not buying government-approved health insurance. it repeals the employer mandate. this bill will lower premiums, repeal burdensome taxes and restore choices.
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it will help stabilize insurance markets and protect people from preexisting conditions. it will allow people to use pretax dollars to pay for their health care costs, including insurance premiums, and it includes substantial resources to fight opioid and other substance abuse. it provides better quality coverage to low-income americans that will improve medical outcomes for low-income americans, and it puts medicaid on a sustainable path. so, mr. president, i'd like to encourage all of your colleagues to work with us to help make this legislation even stronger. everybody will be able to offer an amendment and get a vote on the amendment when this bill comes to the floor because i believe the alternative is a disaster for our country and we simply can't afford to let it stand. mr. president, i yield the floor and i note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will -- will the senator hold his request?
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the senator from florida. mr. nelson: -- florida. mr. nelson: mr. president, i came to speak on a different subject and will not speak at length about the health care bill because this senator has spoken on a number of occasions about the health care bill. suffice it to say in light of what the majority whip has just said, that if we really did want to seek a bipartisan solution to the health care situation in expanding health care for as many people as we possibly can, than what we do in a bipartisan way is start saying, we've got a current law, let's fix what needs fixing. and this are senator can say that there are a number of discussions going on between
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democratic senators and republican senators about doing just that -- about such items as a reinsurance fund to insure companies against catastrophe the likes of which in a proposal that this senator has filed has been cost out, and in my state of florida, would reduce insurance premiums for health insurance 13% in florida. it's ideas that like, in a bipartisan way, that will solve and bring stability to the marketplace, and that's why insurance companies, in fact, are being vigorous in their opposition to the cruz part of this bill -- the senator cruz part of the bill -- that
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basically destabilizes the market by taking all of the older and sicker people and putting them in one pot and the younger and healthier people in another pot which is exactly the opposite of the principle of insurance is. the principle of insurance is you spread the risk over as many people as you can and thereby can bring down the per unit cost. well, if we really wanted to fix it in a bipartisan way, weed be able to -- we would be able to, but, still, as you can see, there is not the appetite for that in this highly polarized, highly ideological, and highly partisan atmosphere that we find ourselves on this particular topic. now, this senator came here to talk about another thing that is
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equally disturbing because there is a blatant coordinated effort by some elected officials to muzzle the scientific community. and when you start muzzling scientists, you don't come up with the facts, you don't come up with the truth, and what is being presented as facts doesn't really match the truth and certainly the rhetoric doesn't match what's happening. for example, just last month in the state of florida, the florida legislator passed and the governor signed into law a bill that allows any resident of
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the state, regardless of whether or not they have a student in school, can challenge what is being taught in the public schools. so if a single resident objects to a certain subject that students are being taught having to do with science -- a subject such as what's happening in the climate and the changes and the fact that the sun's rays come in and reflect off the earth and go back, reflect out and radiate the heat back into space, but when you start putting in what are known as the greenhouse
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gases, carbon dioxide and methane, they act as a greenhouse gas ceiling having a greenhouse gas effect. trapping the heat, causing the earth to heat up. two-thirds of the earth is covered with water, the oceans, most of that heat is absorbed in the oceans. and what happens to water when it is heated? it expands. and so that is a fact. sale level rise in -- sea level right in south florida is a fact. it's a measurement over the last 40 years, the seas have risen eight inches in south florida. that is a fact. but if there are some who object
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to that climate science, then, under this new law just signed by the governor, they are going to be able to object that subject is being taught in our public schools and a single hearing officer will determine -- a single officer -- order only -- lord only knows who that officer is appointed by -- that single person will determine under the new law, if the objection -- under the new law if the objection is justified and they can force a local public school to remove the subject from its curriculum. does that sound a little bit
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strange? and does that sound a little bit scary? it seems like this is the most brazen attack on science that we've seen in a long time and it is a blatant attempt to cover up the truth. instead of accepting the fact that the seas are rising and what is going to be a very real threat, and already is to a coastline like florida, they want to literally rip the subject right out of our children's textbooks while at the same time silencing the teachers and the scientists. i don't think we can sit back and allow our public schools to become political battlegrounds.
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and we shouldn't allow politicians to silence our teachers and scientists just because they don't happen to like that part of the science. while this bill was just enacted in florida, it may be one much the most egregious examples of hiding the truth, but unfortunately, i'm sad to report, it is not the only one. in fact, in 2015, florida's governor went so far as to reportedly ban state officials from even using the term climate change in their reports. doesn't that sound like muzzling? yet, the effect of sea-level rise is still painfully evident in south florida. what about the water washing over the curbs on miami beach at
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the seasonal high tide? what about the water that's coming over the streets in the lasola section of fort lauderdale at the seasonal high tides? in just a month, the new head of the u.s. environmental protection agency fired several members of the board of scientific counselors, the very people responsible for overseeing the agency science and research programs. these were scientists at the top of their fields working on behalf of the american people, and suddenly in one fell swoop, the new head of the e.p.a. fired them all and wants to replace them with -- you gettinged it -- you guessed it -- industry representatives. scientists from the very industries that e.p.a. is supposed to monitor and oversee.
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now, if this is not what completes the picture of putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, i don't know what is, and the henhouse is not just climate science but includes basic research in all fields, including health care, n.i.h. by the way, thank goodness we got ahead of -- a head of n.i.h., a guy who broke the code on the human genome, dr. collins. it includes the fields of astronomy, how about nasa, and it includes the origin of the universe quantum physics in multiple agencies. this disturbing trend of hiefding the truth -- of hiding the truth if it doesn't match their rhetoric is a trend that's spreading across all levels of
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government. if information can't be removed from the public domain all together, then guess what they try to do? try to discredit. look, for example of what's been done right now in an effort to pass this disastrous republican health bill. instead of, as i just made our comments preparatory to this science subject, instead of trying to work together on a bipartisan bill aimed at improving our nation's health care system, some on the other side of the aisle have resorted to attacking who? attacking the nonpartisan congressional budget office after it said the bill will take health care coverage away from tens of millions of people. the nonpartisan c.b.o. is just that.
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it's nonpartisan. it's responsible for eliminating the costs and effects of nearly -- of estimating the cost and effects of nearly every bill that congress considers. and yet suddenly when its conclusion in c.b.o. don't match the rhetoric coming from one side, they turn their attacks on the scientists and the mathematicians who release the findings. listen to this quote. i have a lot of yes about our accuracy of the c.b.o. one of our republican colleagues said here in the senate. c.b.o.'s time has, quote, come and gone, end of quote, the white house budget director said earlier this year. quote, we disagree strenuously with this report, h.h.s.
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secretary price said. quote, the c.b.o.'s reports coverage numbers defy logic. quote, if you're looking for the c.b.o. for accuracy, you're looking in the wrong place, said the press secretary down at the white house. and if that's not enough, just last week the white house itself released a video saying that the c.b.o. score of the republican health care bill is based on faulty assumptions and bad math, end of quote. mr. president, it's kind of clear what's going on. this administration's war on science is not a myth. it is not fake news. if you want to know an administration's true priorities, you need to look for
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further than their budget. if you look at the president's most recent budget request, you'll see dramatic cuts to some of our most important scientific agencies. this senator has seen that in the jurisdiction of the commerce committee, in the noaa programs, in the nasa programs. so the president's budget calls for more than a 30% cut to e.p.a. it calls for the firing of nearly a quarter of its staff and its elimination of all funding for programs aimed at fighting climate change. and climate change isn't just about florida or a coastal state problem. it's a problem of the entire country. the extreme weather events caused by climate change affect us all. droughts come more frequent, floods more severe, major
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storms, hurricanes, tornadoes become stronger and even more deadly. and so the scientists at noaa, the national weather service, nasa, and most of the other agencies, including our military who study climate change aren't trying to create a mythical problem that doesn't exist. they're trying to solve real life problems that affect all of us and affect them in the carrying out of their duties. and they work at federal agencies across the country with one goal in mind. to make credible, valid data publicly available for researchers and academic institutions and businesses who use that information to better understand things. i see the leader is here to
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speak. i will just conclude with a couple of thoughts. these scientists know that we can't just stick our heads in the sand. science doesn't work like that. facts are facts. and the fact is that the earth is heating up, and there's a reason for that that i explained. and if we don't do something about it, the communities that are already affected in my state are going to be communities all over the world. these here are not alternative facts. and yet instead of helping these scientists do their work, some political leaders are using their positions to hide this information and to make it unavailable. and we ought to be speaking out against it. and that's what this senator is
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trying to do. and so i've filed legislation to protect scientists' right to speak publicly about their research, not to let them be muzzled, and to ensure that all federal agencies maintain their scientific integrity. and i hope we can stop this nonsense of hiding the truth. let's stop this war on science. let's accept facts as they are and debate then the issues, the policy. the american people deserve an open and honest government that works for them, not a government that distorts the truth to match its rhetoric. and i thank the senate for indulging me. i thank the leader for listening
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patiently. and, mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. schumer: mr. president? the presiding officer: the democratic leader. mr. schumer: first, i want to tell my colleague from florida it's always a pleasure to listen to him. he is aradite, well researched, passionate and always about a subject that matters. and on the subject he just spoke about, no state in our entire nation has more experience with the frailties of this planet given that it's heating up as the senator from florida given all the low-lying heavily populated areas right on the ocean side and the gulf side. so i thank him for his continued pursuit of that so very important issue to every one of us. now, mr. president, before i begin, i'd like to express my hope, and i think the hope of every member of this chamber, that the senior senator from arizona, my good friend, john
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mccain, has a full and speedy recovery from his recent surgery. there's no one who has done more to serve his country in this chamber than john mccain. there is no one who is more passionate in his defense of our soldiers and our defense than john mccain. and he is just an outstanding man and a very, very good friend. so i admire him very much, treasure his friendship, and wish him the best. godspeed to senator mccain and his family. now, it seems like because of senator mccain's recent illness that it will be at least another week until the republican majority forces a vote on the republican trumpcare bill. i'd suggest to my good friend, the republican leader, that he use this time to hold public hearings on the bill. my republican friends proposed
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to pass legislation that would reorganize one-sixth of our economy, touched lives of every american without a single hearing. is that amazing? not one hearing, even though we've been on the bill for seven months now. no opportunity to hear from experts in a public setting, let alone consider amendments. so i'd say to my friend, senator mcconnell, let's use this extra week or extra weeks to do what republicans should have done a long time ago, hold public hearings, allow the stakeholders to come in and express their concerns. today we democrats sent the leader a letter to make this request formally, and we'll include a list of nonpartisan stakeholders we believe should have a chance to air their views on the senate republican health care bill. groups known for their followings and for the good they do, known for not being political at all, like the american cancer society, the american lung association, the
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american hospital association, ahip, the largest trade group for insurers to name a few. let's have these groups testify on the policies in this bill so the american people can have a chance to hear what experts and patient advocates have to say. i'd say to my friend, the leader, when you don't have hearings, when you try to hide a bill, it usually results in poor legislation. that's what's happening now. the bill done behind closed doors, a handful of senators, even republican senators didn't know what they were putting together. it doesn't work. the wisdom of the founding fathers, the wisdom of this body through the centuries is do it in public, have a discussion, have a debate, and the crucible of legislative -- of the legislative process will make it better. so the suggestion we're making, obviously we oppose many parts of the bill. obviously so do the american
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people. but maybe something that would be said at a hearing would change things around. now, additionally, we asked the majority leader to wait for a complete score from the congressional budget office before proceeding to his bill. the republicans now have a week, maybe more, to get their bill scored by the nonpartisan c.b.o. they have no excuse to proceed to a bill of this significance without knowing its cost or consequence. now that they have plenty of time to get that done, we democrats hope there will be a full c.b.o. score before the vote on the motion to proceed. we make these requests respectfully. and let me just say one more thing about c.b.o. the white house has had an awful tendency when they don't like a fact, they call it fake. they try to discredit the fact giver. we've never seen a presidency like this. i would say to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, don't let this infection spread to you.
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c.b.o. is a nonpartisan organization. the head of c.b.o. was appointed by the republican leaders of the house and senate. to discredit c.b.o. simply because you don't like the answer they give is not the american way. the american way is to debate the facts, not deny them, not call them fake because you don't like them. unfortunately our president has made his presidency -- this is the hallmark of his presidency. anything he doesn't like is fake, even though it's real. his son gives an e-mail, gives a statement and he says that's fake, what is said is fake. let's not -- let it not spread to this body. c.b.o. is a respected organization, as i said, with leaders appointed by the republicans, not by us. let's hear what they have to say and let's take it seriously, even if we not agree with the
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outcome of where their facts lead. now, mr. president, i'd like to make some additional points on one of the more controversial parts of the republican trumpcare bill. the cruz amendment. the cruz amendment, by allowing insurers to sell junk insurance, with a actually increase out-of-pocket costs often average americans. -- on average americans. premiums might come down for some because insurers wouldn't have to cover very much but the reduction in premiums would be more than offset by skyrocketing deductibles and co-pays. so the average american would be paying more, not less. the average american would likely -- so many of them would get junk insurance. my friend, the senator from delaware, senator coons, put it best. he said, they said, yeah, we'll sell you a car. it'll be cheaper, but it'll have no butcher and no steering -- but it'll have no bumper, no steering wheel. it won't serve its purpose.
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the insurer can say, no hospitalization. no payment for drugs. what good are they? it is a talking point. it doesn't help people. it hurts them. the cruz amendment would also make insurance unaffordable for americans who need it most, creating what even the very conservative american action forum say would be a death spiral in the marketplace. and again my friend shall the senior senator from iowa, said the cruz are amendment would, quote, annihilate the preexisting condition requirement, unquote. that's not church schumer. that's not -- that's not chuck schumer. that's not bill nelson. that is chuck grassley, one of the most senior republican senators from the great state of iowa who says that. i.t. not fake. it's real what he said. can't wash it away. and the cruz amendment winds
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back the clock in a america to the days of the worst practices of insurance companies. it seems to feel the raison d'etre tra of the insurance companies. well, in the 1890's, that may have governed. americans have learned that that doesn't protect them. it would allow insurers to sell policy without the ban on preexisting condition exclusions, without covering essential health benefits, without lifetime limits. it would even allow insurers to sell policies that include excessive waiting periods of more than 90 days. you watch your child suffer. what kind of freedom is that? it's freedom for the insurance company. it sure isn't freedom for the family with the child that's suffering. i find the cruz amendment and sometimes my good friend from
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texas cares about freedom for very wealthy people, for millionaires. what about average people? we need freedom to be able to pay, have your insurance company pay when your kid has cancer. you need to be free of that, that they can't pay or won't pay or you have to wait 90 days. but the cruz amendment blesses those kinds of restrictions. remember, the cruz amendment wassed ad to a -- was added to a bill that slashes medicaid in a way that would shatter protections for americans in nursing homes, those struggling with opioid addiction, and americans in rural parts of the country. the cruz amendment is a cruel insult adding to a devastating injury. we have another week or more before the senate will vote on this bill. the republican leader can spend that time trying to find new or ever-more cynical ways to buy off necessary votes with bailouts and giveaways to certain states, or he can do
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what he has promised to do repeatedly as majority leader: return this lead to regular order, go through the committee process, have hearings nah and a robust amendment process, and i dare say the resulting would be a lot better than the one before us. i dare say that's why the founding fathers set up a congress, not have a few people get in a room and then rush through bill that affects a huge percentage of the american economy. now, one other matter -- another matter, mr. president. made in america. the administration has termed this made in america week. i had he urge every american to use this opportunity to look at this administration and this president's made in america record. president trump said in his inaugural address that his administration would follow two simple rules: buy american and
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hire american. but president trump's own businesses don't even follow those rules. if you're going to preach something, start at home. start at home. trump shirts and ties, where are they made? china. trump furnitures where is it made? turkey. while president trump and his administration are importuning others to make it in america, maybe he should demand it of his businesses first. the the american people should also take a hard look at the trump administration's policies on trade and outsourcing. the words of the president contradict each other, just as do the actions of his company. earlier in year president trump refused to insist that pipelines and water infrastructure be made with american steel. buy america, hire america. why did he refuse to do that?
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we democrats wanted it done. i think many republicans wanted it done. if president trump were serious about made in america week, he'd demand that senate republicans put senator baldwin's bill requiring that infrastructure be made with american steel on the senate floor. another example, the upcoming defense authorization act prepared by the republican majority, includes roll 13 backs, actual rollbacks to the buy america rules. if president trump was serious about made in america week instead a lot of show and a lot of talking, why doesn't he oppose those rollbacks and threaten to veto any bill that dilutes or rescinds buy america rules? the defense bill coming to the floor does. so again, as made in america week commences, i'd urge the american people to study the
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policies of this president and the practices of the businesses that bear his name. because at least thus far the trump administration's push for made in america is a bit like putting mr. putin proposing a cybersecurity task force. mr. president, i'd like to applaud french president emanuel ma crohn for his comments over the weekend about his comment cs about antisemitism. president macron is right. president -- when everyone else was allowed to farm and jews could not, when everyone else was allowed to live in moscow and jews could
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not, when others could become academics or tradesmen and jews could not. praise god that hasn't happened in america but it was hallmark of europe. and the word to describe all these acts is antisemitism. so it is, mr. president, with anti-zionism. the idea that all other people can seek and defend their right to determination but the jewish people cannot, that other nations have a right to exist but the jewish state of israel does not, that, too, is a modern form of antisemitism, just as president macron of france said this weekend. anti-zionism unfortunately continues to bubble up in many different forms. there is perhaps no greater example than the pernicious effort to delegitimize israel through boycotts, divestment and sanctions. the b.d.s. movement is a deeply
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biased campaign that i would say in similar words to mr. macron is, quote, a reinvented form of antisemitism. because it seeks to impose boycotts on israel and not any other nation, most of whose practices are abhorrent, far worse than the democracy of israel, which recognizes people's rights. i hope that the states across this country will continue to push back against the b.d.s. movement by boycotting the boycotters, as my home state of new york has done. and i know that my fellow senators on both sides of the aisle -- this is an issue that has, thank god, not lent itself to partisanship -- will join me in this modern-branders of semitism as president macron did this weekend.
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once again, my thoughts go to john mccain,, his speedy recover, the respect this every member of this body has for him. we play his recovery is speedy and full and permanent. thank you, i yield the floor. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i move to proceed to legislative session. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye.
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all those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do have t motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: moi to proceed to executive session to consider calendar number 170, john denyeth bush. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the clerk will report. the clerk: nomination, the judiciary, john kenneth bush of kentucky to be united states circuit judge for the sixth circuit. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of john kenneth bush of kentucky to be united states circuit judge for the sixth circuit signed by 17 senators as follows -- mr. mcconnell: i ask the reading of the names being
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waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: moi to proceed to dealing live session. the presiding officer: question is on the motion. all those in favor say aye. those opposed, say no. the ayes appear to have it. the motion is agreed to. mr. mcconnell: move to proceed to the executive calendar to consider calendar number 100, david bernhardt. officer officer all knows in favor say aye. all those opposed, say no. the ayes do have it. the clerk: new mexico nation, department of the interior, david bernhardt of virginia to be deputy secretary. mr. mcconnell: i send a cloture motion to the desk. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion: we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of david bernhardt to be deputy secretary of the interior. signed by 17 senators -- mr. mcconnell: i ask that the reading be waived.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the mandatory quorum calls for the cloture motions be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: i have one request for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. the presiding officer: the senate is in a quorum call. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: i have one request for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. the presiding officer: duly noted. mr. hatch: mr. president, i rise today in support of the nomination of mr. patrick shanahan to be deputy secretary of defense. mr. president, the department of defense is going through historic changes in its organizational structure. these much-needed changes are
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thanks to the chairman of the armed services committee and haste unwavering commitment to strengthening our nation's security and ensuring that american taxpayers get the best return on their investment. we should all applaud the chairman for his efforts. but even as we make these reforms, we should also heed the lessons of the past. history shows us that the department of defense runs best under a secretary who is a strong policy leader and a depply secretary who is a dynamic business manager. the most obvious example of this observed structure is david packard, the former c.e.o. of hewlett-packard corporation was confirmed as deputy secretary of defense. thanks to deputy secretary packard's considerable business acumen, his term in office is still regarded as the model of effective management at the department of defense, which leads us today -- us to today
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and our once in a generation opportunity to replicate the sufficiency and success at the department of defense. the pieces are now in place. chairman mccain has provided the statutory catalyst, and i'm sorry that he has had some difficulty healthwise in the last few days. we can't wait to get him back. secretary mattis is a brilliant thinker and a master strategist who is providing the critical leadership we need during this period of uncertainty, and today he is seeking to replicate the, quote, packard model, unquote, by choosing as his deputy a man of proven business and management skill. mr. president, i understand things could have gone a bit better during mr. shanahan's confirmation hearing, but i believe we all should remember mr. shanahan has not been nominated for a position in public affairs, far from it. he has been nominated to be a
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strong manager who can increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the department of defense. in this role, i believe mr. shanahan will excel. i think everybody who knows him believes that. currently, mr. shanahan is a senior vice president at the boeing corporation where he has been responsible for designing and producing some of the world's most complex machines. for example, when the boeing company's latest aircraft, the 787 was experiencing developmental difficulties, mr. shanahan was one of the key leaders tasked to solve these issues, earning himself the nickname mr. fix-it. as further evidence of his leadership, i was particularly impressed with one of mr. shanahan's written answers to the armed services committee's questions. he wrote, quote, in my three decades of experience, i have developed and practiced a formula to create change at
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scale in large, complex organizations. i believe leadership is essential to changing the status quo, setting a compelling vision, establishing ambitious goals, and realistic intermediate objectives and converting strategy into action, unquote. mr. president, is that not exactly the type of person we want to be managing and reforming the department of defense? i personally think it is. finally, i believe mr. shanahan's most important credential is he is secretary mawt's -- mattis' choice to be deputy secretary of defense. i firmly believe secretary mattis will be remembered as one of our nation's premier national security leaders. the secretary does not fool around. he demands the best in himself and those around him. if secretary mattis wants mr. shanahan, then i believe the senate should speed his
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confirmation so the good work can continue. if confirmed, i look forward to working with mr. shanahan especially to ensure that the department of defense maintains our current statutory requirements regarding our defense lodge -- logistics capabilities. i strongly believe mr. shanahan will play a critical role in leading the department of defense to a new error of effectiveness and efficiency. mt to thank you and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call: a senator: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from arkansas. mr. cotton: i ask unanimous consent to end the quorum call. the presiding officer: the clerk will report the motion to invoke cloture. the clerk: cloture motion, we, the undersigned senators in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination of patrick m. shanahan of washington to be deputy secretary of defense. signed by 17 senators. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the mandatory
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call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the nomination of patrick m. shanahan of washington to be deputy secretary of defense shall be brought to a close. the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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vote:
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the presiding officer: the yeas are 88. the nays are 6. the nomination is confirmed.
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the presiding officer: for the information of the senate, the motion is agreed to. mr. sullivan: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from alaska. mr. sullivan: mr. president, are we in a quorum call? the presiding officer: we are not. mr. sullivan: mr. president, i want to talk a little bit about what's going on on the senate floor right now. so we just had a nomination for the deputy secretary of defense. we're trying to move him along. a really important job. and it's taken some time. as a matter of fact, it's taken a long time, mr. president. as you know, to get nominees from the white house confirmed by this body to run the
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government, to run the government. pretty important job to run the government. we not only need cabinet secretaries, which by the way took months for this body to confirm. it slowed down the confirmation of the white house's choices to run the federal agencies. no real explanation why. and now under secretary, deputy secretaries, assistant secretaries, federal judges, delay, delay, delay, delay. we're supposed to be trying to put people in place to run the government. but, mr. president, it's taken a real long time to do this, which is the job of the u.s. senate. and it shouldn't be this way. it shouldn't be this way.
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you look at u.s. history, typically enabling a president to fill the key positions of government has not been a partisan issue. an election happens. yeah, there can be some debates on cabinet officials. but you typically want to fill the government and start running the government on behalf of the american people. it's not been a partisan issue in america. well, unfortunately it's becoming a partisan issue due to what by any measure is historic obstruction on the nominations from the white house to run the federal government. historic obstruction. mr. president, the people did elect us here, and they elected a new president and implicit in
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the election was that they wanted us to get to work, to do things that in my view are very bipartisan. what are some of those things? grow the economy. we haven't had 3% g.d.p. growth in almost 15 years. that's a bipartisan issue, growing the economy. rebuilding our military, unleashing energy that we have in this great nation in enormous abundance. investing in infrastructure, streamlining regulations that are strangling small businesses and, yes, enacting policies to address the spiraling cost of health insurance and health care across the country. and throughout history the party in the minority understood this after an election and would vote on, confirm new members of an
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administration, not just cabinet secretaries but under secretaries, deputy secretaries, assistant secretaries, judges. in fact, the current minority leader said the following in 2 2013. quote, who in america doesn't think a president, democrat or republican, deserves his or her picks for who should run the agenc--the agencies? nobody. nobody, unquote. those were wise words in 2013. i just wish he would remember them in 2017. because apparently he's forgotten those words. he's forgotten those words. because right now it's just pure obstruction in terms of trying to seat the people to run the government. so, mr. president, sometimes it's important to explain a little bit, try to explain to the american people what's going on on the senate floor because it can be confusing. i still get confused sometimes,
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arcane rules. but let's just give an example of what just happened here right now. we had the deputy secretary of defense, the number two official at the department of defense, pretty darn important job. we voted after he came out of committee, armed services committee on which i sit, to end--to end debate on his nomin. the vote just happened. i think it was 90-6, i believe. so very bipartisan, very bipartisan. and by the way, we need people at the department of defense whether you're a democrat or republican, regardless of who you voted for in the november elections, most americans want us to have good people running the department of defense right now. we have very few there, very few because of this obstruction. so the deputy secretary, the cloture vote just happened, 90-6. so that's very strong
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bipartisan. in previous times, democrat or republican administration, the senate would normally say hey, let's move in. he needs to get over there. let's unanimously agree to moving that nomination more quickly so he can help run the department of defense. pretty important job. well, unfortunately, we're not in that era right now. so what our colleagues on the other side of the aisle have been doing for every single nomination for this administration is now we will have an additional two-day waiting period, an additional 30 hours of debate. those are senate rules. but normally on someone this noncontroversial, those get waived. those get waived. but we have a minority leader who wants to drag out every
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single official in the new administration from being seated. really hasn't explained why. i haven't heard an explanation why. but it's happening every single official. three to four days on one official. someone did an estimation. if they keep this up, all the senate confirmed jobs, they do it for every single senate confirmed jobs, it will take 11 years. 11 years to seat the officials in the trump administration. now, how is that helping the american people? how is that helping the american people? it's not. and yet nobody comes down here and explains why they're doing it. the press doesn't report on it. so let me just give you some other facts on that, mr. president. so normally when you waive these rules, you can have a voice vo
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vote. noncontroversial nomination like the deputy secretary of defense we just had, normally that would be voice voted. in fact, at this point in president obama's presidency -- so the first six months of his presidency -- the senatellowed more than -- the senate allowed more than 90% of his nominees to be confirmed by a simple voice vote. in fact, the senate only asked for procedural votes eight times -- on eight nominees. that was it. the first six months of president obama's nomination. that was normal. republicans or democrats would do something along those lines. for the trump administration's first six months, the minority leader and his colleagues have demanded cloture votes for every single nominee, no matter what the position, no matter how noncontroversial, no matter how
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bipartisan. the courtesy extended to president obama to get his team together so he could run the country has not been extended here. that's just a fact. let me give you another fact, mr. president. according to the nonpartisan partnership for public service, at about this point in president obama's first term, he had 183 of his nominations confirmed. 183. getting people until their positions in government to run the country. doesn't matter what party you're in -- to run the country. but while president trump's administration has made 178 nominations up to this point to the senate, only 46 have been confirmed. so president obama at this poi point, 183 nominations
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confirmed. this president, 46. historic obstruction. but nobody -- nobody comes down here and says why. why are you doing this? what's the point? what's the point? this isn't by accident. this isn't by accident. the head of a leading democratic think tank told the press recently they intended to hold up, delay, tie up floor time for every single nomination for a senate-confirmed position. but what they don't do is -- they don't go, here's why. here's why they want to do that. why do to do that? -- why do they want to do that? it is not going to help us build our infrastructure? it is not going to help us build our military, when you keep the
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deputy secretary from coming into this position. just last week we had a judge who was nominated from the state of idaho, district court judge, who was confirmed unanimously, and it almost took the entire week to get him confirmed on the senate floor because the minority leader was delaying, delaying, delaying. even somebody who got 100% of the senators to vote for hill. so again i.t. not clear why -- so again it's not clear why they're doing t some of the other noncontroversial nominees that are being delayed, the under secretary of the treasury for international affairs, two nominees to review pipelines and other projects at the federal energy regulatory commission. do you think we need that for our country to grow the economy? we do. these are important positions to grow the work of the -- these are important positions to do the work of the federal government. yet it is all delay. nobody in the press even asks
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any questions. historic obstruction right now and nobody is even asking, why are you doing it? it would be great to have the minority leader come down to the senate floor and just tell us why. i want to know why. i want to grow the economy. we need these people in positions of authority to help us do the things, bipartisan things that the american people sent us here to do. not delay, not obstruct. so, mr. president, something else is happening on the senate floor right now. i.t. not just -- it's not just nominees, historic obstruction. the other side is for whatever reason saying they're going to shut down whatever son the senate floor. let knee give you another example. a lot of what we do here moves
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by unanimous consent on the senate floor. so there's rules to move things. they can take a lot of time. but a lot of time the leadership of the senate will get together and say, okay, we can have a unanimous consent agreement to move things faster. and i.t. not just nominees -- and it's not just nominees. sometimes it's ruly legislation. as a matter of fact, a lot of things move on the senate floor through unanimous consent. essentially a voice vote where everybody, all 100 senators, say we agree with that. that's a bill that's really important, very bipartisan, let's move it -- let's move it fast. it came out of committee. i.t. not controversy -- it's not controversial, but maybe it's important, so let's move t well, for whatever reason, it still hasn't explained to the american people -- the minority leader has said we're not going to move anything by unanimous consent right now either. so not only are we going to hold
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up every nominee as long as possible, even the noncontroversial ones, nothing is going to move in the senate by unanimous consent. again, why? and how does that help the american people? how does that help the american people when you're just blocking things? let me give you one specific example, an issue that i feel very passionate about, mr. president. i had a bill, it was introduced last year, it passed the senate by unanimous consent. and we're trying to pass it right now by unanimous consent this congress. unfortunately, it didn't pass out of the house. i think it will. it passed out of the committee again. it's called the pro bono work to empower and represent work, the power act. very bipartisan, a number of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, including senator heitkamp, shaheen, leahy, warr
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warren, are cosponsors. so here's what it does. i come down to the senate floor every week and talk about what a great state i live in -- alaska. well, one thing that we actually aren't proud of in alaska is we have a real big problem with domestic violence and sexual assault in my state. and one of the best ways to deal with that issue, one of the best ways to help victims and survivors break the cycle of violence that occurs with way too many families and way too many women and children in alaska and across the country is to get them attorneys to represent them. here's a startling fact. it's a little harsh when you say it, but it is true. if there's somebody who commits a rape or is accused of committing a rape, that person gets a sixth amendment right to counsel. okay, that's our bull of rights.
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-- that's our bill of rights. but guess what the victim gets in terms of legal representation? nothing. but that's a really important way to help break the cycle of violence, to get survivors and victims an attorney, get the resources to do that. well, that's what the power act does. and that's why it passed unanimous consent last year. we got a big problem in the country in terms of domestic violence and sexual assault. this would help. so guess what? we're trying to move it right now, unanimous consent. it'll pass. but it's not going to pass now because the minority leader is blocking every unanimous consent agreement on the senate floor. why? why? does he think that women in america don't need the resources to represent themselves in these kind of horrendous crimes?
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they do, trust me. thousands of them -- tens of thousands of them do. so why are we blocking this? why aren't we moving? we're shutting down the whole senate, shutting down -- trying to shut down the federal government's ability to cede itself, do the work of the american people. historic obstruction and nobody explains it, the press doesn't ask about it, and yet i think the american people need to know about it. we're elected to move this country forward. the election happened in november. let's come together. there's a lot of bipartisan work to do. yeah, we have our differences on health care and other issues, but there are so many things where we don't have differences -- growing the economy, rebuilding our military, infrastructure. but you need people in the federal government to do that. and you need leaders in the
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senate who can help move things forward by unanimous consent, like the power act, when they're not controversial. we don't have those leaders right now. we need them. we need to get this country moving again, and the way things are happening on the senate floor, it's not happening that way at all. mr. president, i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from georgia. mr. isakson: mr. president, i want to thank the distinguished senator from oregon, senator merkley, for allowing me a few extra minutes ahead of his speech. i appreciate his courtesy. i'm giving a speech i never wanted to make. i've canceled three times when i was going to make this speech in the last month. i couldn't quite do it.
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i couldn't quite do it because every once in a while something happens in your career, either a loved one or friend or cohort, that's so close to you and meaningful to you, that to talk about it is an emotionally difficult thing to do. such is the occasion today. i'm here to pay tribute to my scheduler and has been for years, came to work for me when i was a member of the house, has worked for me time and again in the united states senate, except for the one time she left me to go work for george bush -- and i understand that. that was a higher pay grade than mine. stephanie is a young lady who was working for a congressman from florida from her hometown when i came to washington. she wasn't married, had a wonderful family, lived at home with her folks, applied for a job as a scheduler for me and came to work for me. i ran a pretty large company, i had about 250 employees. i know a good worker when i see one. stephanie is the best. but she had that quality beyond
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being just the best. she cared about every single thing that she did and every single person that she helped and every single person that she couldn't meet. she grew in the job and made me a better congressman and then later a better senator. she came to me about 18 monthsing a and said, i got some news for you. i'm pregnant. i'm pregnant with identical twins. i was so excited for her and her husband. she wanted more and anything else in the world to have a family. my wife and i had a party for her in december at christmas. two babies came in the recallly part of this year. -- in the early part of this year. they're beautiful. her mom has come in and helped her deal with her chores at home. she has continued to fulfill her commitment to committee. i thank her so much on the floor of the senate today for that. she married a great guy named chase. i'll tell you a little bit about
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chase. all of us at one time or another in our life has fallen in love. you also know what it looks like to see someone in love. there's a glow. there's just something there. i was in jacksonville, florida, with saxby chambliss when stephanie was there. when she turned towards the airport concourse from the glow on her face that something special has napped in her life. she said, i found a husband. i was so happy for her and so happy for chase. they dated while she was working in my office and married. chase is a member of our united states military, been serving here in washington. but he got a promotion, and he's going to the virginia coast. he's going to take stephanie with him. i'm losing the best person i ever had doing what stephanie has done for me. he married the best person i ever saw. he's doing everything in the world -- she's doing everything
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in the world for him. i thought i'd come to the floor not to list the accolades, which could i, in the thousands, not to say all that platitudes that we love to hear said, but to make a confession. i'm in love -- i'm in love with stephanie because for most of her adult life, she gave her time and effort to make me a better member of the united states senate. she supported my wife when she needed it and i couldn't help. she supported our office when they needed it and i couldn't help. she did all the things that made a difference in every day. she leaves in a about three months. i'll be da sad. when she leaves, i want her to know and i want the whole senate document to record that once in a while, every once in a while, somebody special comes along and makes a difference in your life, your effort, and your ability. stephanie has been that for me.
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i will never forget her for all that she's done for me and i'll always be there for her if she ever needs me. may god bless stephanie and may god bless the united states of america. i yield back. mr. merkley: mr. president. the presiding officer: the senator from oregon. mr. merkley: mr. president, climate disruption is a seminal challenge of our generation. it is the most significant test that human civilization on our planet has faced, and there is a lot of questions about how we're going to be able to come together as a community of nations, community of cultures to address this very significant threat to our beautiful blue-green planet. it affects everything, from our
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farms to our forests to our fisheries. we see the impact in terms of disappearing glaciers and shrinking ice sheets and melting permafrost and dying coral, and we see the impact on our farms and our trout streams and our forests. we see the impact with migrating animals and migrating insects and certainly more powerful storms. in response, communities across the globe are taking action. they're transforming their energy economies. they're developing aggressive strategies to save energy in their buildings and in their vehicles and in their appliances, and they're working to replace their fossil fuel energy supplies with renewable, clean and renewable energy. how much do you know about the changes under way? let's find out. welcome to episode three of the
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senate climate disruption quiz. the first question we have. why did american airlines cancel 57 flights between june 20 and 22? was it extreme temperatures, was it a pilot strike, was it severe storms, was it a fuel shortage? the answer is a, extreme temperatures. well, how is that the case? when air gets hotter, it gets thinner, and thinner air provides less lift for planes to take off, and eventually the runway just isn't long enough for the plane to go fast enough to get enough lift to clear the runway, and so, therefore, all of these flights get canceled. it's not the first time it's happened. it happened in 2013 in phoenix
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with 18 flights canceled, but this was a pretty dramatic incident attributable to very extreme temperatures. let's turn to question two. how long was the recent streak of record-setting monthly temperatures? meaning, for example, that a given month like may was the hottest may ever, and june was the hottest june ever, and july was the hottest july ever. how many months in a row did this happen? did it happen for six months in a row or for 12 months in a row? is it conceivable that this streak extended beyond a year to 16 months? or perhaps even for two years, to 24 months? lock in your answers. the correct answer is c., 16 months. from may, 2015, through august,
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2016, each and every month was the hottest month on record. and in september, 2016, the streak was broken, but only by a few hundredths of a degree. in fact, by september, 2016, the temperature was still 1.6 degrees fahrenheit above the 20th century average. now, i have a little math question to put in here. if you had climate data, temperature data for 50 years, what are the odds that by chance 16 months in a row would be the hottest, each one the hottest among the 50 previous months? what are the odds of that? well, pull out your calculators and take one out of 50 and take it to the 16th power, and what do you get? you get the odds are less than
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one out of a trillion trillion. that's the odds. in other words, this didn't happen by chance. let's turn to question number three. where in the world is the largest floating solar project? maybe you have never even heard of a floating solar project. but there is one -- in fact, there are several. where is the world's largest? is it in china? is it in brazil? is it in india? or is it in australia? and by the way, here is a hint. all four of these actually have floating solar projects. lock in your answer. and here is the answer. the answer is a, china. now, india has a small -- get a.
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marked. india has a small floating solar project, generates about 100 kilowatts. australia's is 40 times larger at four megawatts, roughly the equivalent of two wind turbines. brazil yet larger at ten megawatts. but the largest floating solar project by far is in mulan, china. 40-megawatt solar plant, able to provide enough energy to power 15,000 homes. and because it floats, it uses less energy than most solar farms because the water acts as a natural coolant. but there's something very symbolic about this largest in the world floating solar project, and that is that it sits on a lake caused by the collapse of abandoned coal mines, as if it's saying to us let's transition from fossil fuel economy to a clean
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renewable energy economy like electrons produced by solar power. question number four. last year, plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles made up less than 1% of global car sales. a very small amount. what was the percentage in norway? was it half a percent, behind the world average. 15%? was it 37%? or perhaps even more than one out of two cars sold in norway? lock in your answers. here is the right answer. the answer is c., 37%. when the world average is under 1%, pretty impressive that norway is at 37%. in 2016, plug-in hybrids and fully electric cars made up 37%
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of the new car sales in norway. and that's a huge increase over just a couple of years. three years earlier, the electric vehicles, the plug-in hybrids and fully electric accounted for only 6% of norway's sales. so in a short three years, it went from 6% to 37%. this growth is a combination of fees on gas and diesel-powered cars and subsidies for electric vehicles. and let's look at what else is happening with cars in the world. volvo has announced that all of its new models from 2019 forward will have some form of electric drive. and then you see the growth of companies like tesla that only produces electric cars, and it is becoming increasingly clear that the future of the global auto industry is electric. let's turn to question number five, our final question.
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and this one hits close to home for me as a senator from oregon. what killed billions of baby oysters in oregon in 2007 and 2008? was it red tide? red tide occurs when algae blooms and it's a red bloom that discolors the water, turns it red, and it releases toxins that are absorbed by the clams and other sea life so that we can't go out and dig up our clams and eat them for fear of getting poisoned. was it red tide that killed the oysters? or was it the poms virus, the pacific oyster more mortality syndrome that can cause up to 100% of mortality within days of initial detection. was it sea lice, larry gee that are -- larvae that are tiny, no
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larger than a grain of pepper? or was it rising ocean acidity caused by the emission of billions of tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air and then absorbed by the ocean through tidal action? lock in your answer. the correct answer is d. o'riseing ocean acidity. how is this possible? how can you stand on the coast of oregon and look out at the pacific ocean and envision that humankind has burned so much fossil fuel, so many fossil fuels, so much that it has created so much carbon dioxide in the air and tidal action has absorbed that into the ocean and turned it into carbonic acid
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that it's changed the acidity of the ocean? it seems completely impossible, and yet over the last 150 years, the burning of fossil fuels by human civilization has increased the acidity in the ocean by 30%. so in 2007, when i was running for u.s. senate for the first time, the oysters started dying, and the scientists got involved. they said what's going on? they said is it a virus? is it a bacteria? it wasn't a virus. it wasn't a bacteria. after some time, they nailed it down simply that the ocean water had become too acidic, too much carbonic acid in the ocean from carbon dioxide pollution in the atmosphere. and where did that come from? from the burning of fossil fuels. so now the water comes into the whiskey creek oyster hatchery in a very large pipe, and then it has to be buffered. that is, the acidity has to be
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decreased before that water continues into the vats with the baby oysters. and for all we know, they will have to do this forevermore until we can turn the clock back on global climate disruption. and if the oysters are being affected, what else is going to be affected in the sea change? what is the impact on our coral reefs which provide the foundation for many of the world's fisheries? well, that's something that we should rightly be very concerned about. so there you have it, folks. episode three of the senate climate disruption quiz, how did you do? how many of those questions did you get right? the facts on the ground are changing very quickly as climate disruption increases and communities across the globe respond. together we are racing the clock, and there is no time to
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spare. so stay engaged in the fight. in the near future, i will bring you episode four of the senate climate disruption quiz. and in the meantime, you have a good idea for a climate disruption question, please tweet that question to me at s senjeffmerkley with hashtag climateq4jeff. together let's keep fighting to save our planet. henry david thoreau said what use is a home if you don't have a tolerable planet to put it on? let's work together to make sure that we have a tolerable planet, a healthy planet, not just for this generation but for our children and great grandchildren and generations to follow. thank you, mr. president. i note the absence of a quorum.
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the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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quorum call:
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mr. mcconnell: mr. president. the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that further proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that at 12 noon on tuesday, july 18, there be 15 minutes of postcloture debate equally divided in the usual form on the shanahan nomination and following the use or yielding back of that time, the nomination be confirmed, that the president be night and the senate consider the bush dmoimtion. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that the senate be in a period of morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the appointment at the desk appear separately in the record as if made by the chair. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent that when the senate completes its business today, it adjourn until 10:00 a.m., tuesday, july 18, further, following the prayer and pledge, the journal of proceedings be
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approved to date. and the time for the two leaders be reserved for their use later in the day, and morning business be closed. further, following leader remarks the senate proceed to executive session and resume consideration of the shanahan nomination. finally, the senate recess following the resumption of the bush nomination until 2:15 to allow for the weekly conference meetings. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: if there it is no further business to come before the senate, i ask that it stand adjourned under the previous order. the presiding officer: the senate stands adjourned until senate stands adjourned until patrick shanahan for deputy defense secretary. also pending is the healthcare
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law replacement. senate republican leader mitch mcconnell announced over the weekend that debate on the measure will be delayed until senator mccain recovers from surgery. the washington post is reporting that a threatening note was found over the weekend after a break-in at the las vegas office of senator dean heller. the nevada independent, john ralston, reported that the note was related to the senate's upcoming vote on the gop's health care bill. the story says senator heller could be a critical swing vote on the bill is the only senate republican facing reelection in 2018 in a state one by democratic presidential key candidate hillary clinton last year. his unique position has made hit the focus of several advertising campaigns trying to lobby for his vote. >> obamacare has been hurting the people we represent for many years now. that is why the senate has been working hard to move beyond itso failures.

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